Junior Noah Twesten has attended private Catholic school his entire life, beginning at Good Shepherd Catholic elementary school and continuing at BSM, yet he has always practiced Lutheranism outside of school. Growing up around two religious faiths, Twesten likes that he has a broader perspective of Christianity. “I feel like I have a more all-around knowledge of the Christian faith because I practice Lutheranism, but I attend a Catholic private high school,” Twesten said.
Twesten dedicates his Sunday mornings to services at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church. He takes on the responsibilities of running the technical parts of the service, a job he has held since seventh grade. His jobs include adjusting microphones, controlling the lights, and running the Powerpoint presentations. Twesten also helps with the church’s Sunday school. “I really like volunteering there because I like the leadership that is involved with my service … I am in charge of all the equipment and a team,” Twesten said.
One of the religions that is less commonly practiced among BSM students is Judaism. Sophomore Noah Bridges fell in love with BSM’s community because they’ve shown so much support to his non-Christian faith. “I wanted to come to BSM because I knew it was a very good school, and I also thought I may be able to use my religion as an advantage, kind of like a unicorn with a bunch of horses. I also heard about the Taher cookies,” Bridges said.
Attending a Catholic private school gave Bridges more insight on his faith. By taking religion classes as part of his core curriculum, Bridges was given the opportunity to learn more about the Catholic faith, along with his own faith. “I think I have had to adjust a little bit to the religion classes at BSM simply because I didn’t learn about the Catholic faith growing up. In class I do try to add some insight from a Jewish perspective on the Catholic teachings, but most of the time my insight isn’t a serious contribution. I’ve definitely learned more about Judaism because people have asked me a lot of things about my faith I didn’t know,” Bridges said.
At the beginning of this school year, Bridges was selected to participate in BSM’s interfaith prayer service with Jewish faculty member, Ms. Rosalie Goldberg. She taught at three public schools in the Minneapolis area, before coming to BSM, where she has taught for 20 years. Teaching in the math department, BSM is one of Goldberg’s favorite schools because of the welcoming community. “It’s just such a warm community and everybody is always respectful and kind; I think it’s a great environment to work in,” teacher Rosalie Goldberg said.
While Ms. Goldberg bonds with other faculty members talking about her faith and answering all of their questions about Judaism, she further enjoys talking about her faith with her students. “I like it when students ask me questions about my faith because I am passionate about my faith and I like to share that passion with my students. I also enjoy answering questions about my faith because it’s forced me learn so much more about Judaism,” Goldberg said.
In addition to Christian and Jewish students and teachers, BSM also works to educate and accommodate students that are non-denominational. Junior Tyler Matson is one of these students. Matson comes from a religious Christian family, but he himself doesn’t prefer to abide by Christian obligations. His family celebrates the Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but Tyler personally doesn’t like to attend church services. “My family is Christian, but I don’t identify myself as being a very religious person; I would consider myself a person that has a stronger connection with faith rather than religion. The best part about being non-denominational is that I am not restricted to a certain set of beliefs,” Matson said.
Matson has never had a negative experience at BSM because of his faith. Matson, as well as Goldberg, emphasize the priority BSM makes to ensure all students are treated with upmost respect. “Most people don’t know I am not very religious, but I think that BSM is very open to students and teachers that practice different religions. We are a very close-knit community and BSM always puts in the extra effort to make everyone feel welcome,” Matson said.
Whether a student is Catholic or not, BSM welcomes every student with open arms. The more diversity BSM has, the more opportunity students have to expand their knowledge about their faiths.